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JAPAN AND SOUTH KOREA: Rumor Has It…

LEXIE TUCKER WRITES – Journalists need to grab the attention of their readers, and what better way is there than reporting on a possible scandal? Unfortunately, even in a so-called free media system, a simple rumor can get you into big trouble. Sankei Shimbun reporter Tatsuya Kato’s is now on trial for his alleged libeling […]

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Move Over Comic Con, Make Room for Hello Kitty Con

ANNIE LUNDGREN WRITES – Last month, some 25,000 people celebrated Hello Kitty’s 40th birthday at the first-ever “Hello Kitty Con” in downtown Los Angeles.  The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Little Tokyo was transformed into a wonderland of cartoon structures, giant tea-cups, and rainbows. Pink-dressed attendees wore tutus, wigs, cat ears, and giant hair bows. I […]

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JAPAN: Rocking Through the Mainstream

YVONNE EPPS WRITES — Imagine standing in the pit of the House of Blues, staring up at a four-man group that begins to sing in Japanese. It’s an indie Japanese music fan’s dream, and when you wake up, you realize that the American mainstream is being invaded. A trend is developing in which Japanese rock […]

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JAPAN: No Need to Evacuate the Dance Floor

LEXIE TUCKER WRITES – The Japanese can now officially dance the night away without a curfew. Since 1948, dancing at any time past midnight in Japan has been illegal. But those who want to shake their groove things can now rejoice. The Japanese government is cutting back on the crazy “Footloose-esque” statute, and the 2020 […]

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MOVIE REVIEW: Giovanni’s Island

      DYLAN FIELDS WRITES – For many years, Japan has been engaged in various territorial disputes such as the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands conflict with China, or the Takeshima/Dokdo Islands feud with South Korea. One such quarrel, which many non-Japanese are unaware of, is the ongoing Kuril Islands dispute between Japan and Russia. After World War II […]

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JAPAN: From Dollars to Disgrace

LEXIE TUCKER WRITES – On October 19, Japanese media was quick to announce the resignation of Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yuko Obuchi after claims that groups supporting her had misused political funds. If anybody knows how to handle a scandal, it’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’ and his team. Since adding five new female cabinet […]

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LOS ANGELES: EigaFest Gives Hollywood a Taste of Japan

DYLAN FIELDS WRITES – L.A. EigaFest 2014 hit the town last month, bringing fans of Japanese cinema from East to West to Hollywood’s main drag. A mash-up of the Japanese word for film, eiga, and ‘festival,’ the annual gathering, now in its fourth year, showcases Japanese and Japanese-influenced films for American audiences. It has also become […]

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JAPAN: A Picture is Worth More Than 1,000 Words

LEXIE TUCKER WRITES – Japan was shaken on September 27 when Mt. Ontake erupted, resulting in the death of 47 hikers. Located 125 miles west of Tokyo, the ominous volcano’s explosion also injured 70 other hikers who sustained bruises, cuts, and broken bones after being pelted by flying rocks and other debris. What makes this event even […]

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JAPAN: Xbox Nope

YVONNE EPPS WRITES — The next generation console war is heating up in the West as Sony’s PS4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One are neck and neck. In the East, however, Sony has had Microsoft on the ropes. According to Arcade Sushi, the Xbox One launched in Japan in September and was a big dud. About 23,000 […]

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JAPAN: MP3s Are So Yesterday

LEXIE TUCKER WRITES – Can you remember the last CD you bought? I’m not talking an album on iTunes. I mean an actual, physical compact disc. Can’t recall? Ask anyone in Japan this question, and you’ll most likely get an answer without much thought. After the U.S., Japan is the world’s second-largest market for music. […]

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YOUNG JAPAN: Looking Westward – The Kickstarter Phenomenon

JEREMIAH FAJARDO WRITES – From potato salad to Oscar nominated films, the popular crowd-funding site Kickstarter has been at the forefront of rethinking project funding. Surprisingly, some of the most successful campaigns have come from Japan’s risk-averse entertainment industry. The time for change has come and it’s in the hands of the fans. Before Kickstarter, […]

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JAPAN: Will Sell Body for Education

LEXIE TUCKER WRITES – Paying for college isn’t easy. Either you were lucky enough to have parents who started saving from the time you were born, or you’re forced to take out loans in ungodly amounts to help fund your outrageously expensive education. Of course, part-time jobs are an option. You may find work at a […]

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Historian Ikuhiko Hata.

JAPAN: Revealing the Facts or Covering Tracks?

LEXIE TUCKER WRITES – Retracting a story is a bold move in the field of journalism and tends to suggest a lack of research. On August 5, The Asahi Shinbun decided to retract not one story, but all stories that included a quote made by a Japanese man who claimed to have kidnapped and forced […]

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CHINA and JAPAN: An Explosion of Disrespectful Proportions

LEXIE TUCKER WRITES – When a grudge is held between two countries, what sort of action is considered “crossing the line?” On July 3, the Chinese paper The Chongqing Youth News published a map of Japan with cartoony drawings of atomic mushroom clouds over Hiroshima and Nagasaki along with a headline stating “Japan wants a […]

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LOS ANGELES: A Stellar Showcasing of Soft Power

JEREMIAH FAJARDO WRITES – Despite lengthy lines and oppressive heat, L.A.’s annual Anime Expo broke its previous attendance records, embodying the growth and impact of Japan’s pop-culture diplomacy. Each Independence Day weekend thousands of passionate fans descend upon Southern California for North America’s largest convention for all things related to Japanese pop-culture. This year, for […]

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